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Eat and Drink

Adam Richman's ‘Secret Eats’: The foodie's favorite NYC restaurants

Adam Richman likes a good secret — especially when it comes to food.

“There’s just that appeal of these great hidden places, of being the guy who knows a guy,” says the TV personality. “There’s a cool feeling about places like that.”

Richman celebrates the allure of these “in-the-know” restaurants and dishes in his latest Travel Channel show, “Secret Eats with Adam Richman,” which premieres its second season on Aug. 8.

In the series, Richman travels the globe for off-menu meals and hard-to-find spots — which, in the age of social media, can be a challenge in and of itself.

“Now the game is, how can I hide it more?” Richman says. “Chefs, like most creative professionals, get into a rut. I think they like the opportunity to freestyle and do something cool, even if it’s a secret menu item.”

At the end of the day, New York City is home, so we asked the Brooklyn native and current resident about his favorite “secret eats” in NYC — from hidden or unexpected restaurants to specific dining rooms and off-menu items.

“Secret Eats with Adam Richman” premieres Aug. 8 at 10 p.m. on the Travel Channel.

Kuma Inn

Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

"That you could walk past, and you'd never stop at in a bazillion years," Richman says of the Filipino-fusion restaurant, located on the second floor of a Lower East Side building.

In Filipino, "kumain" means "to eat," and at the cash-only spot, you can eat such "greatest hits" as crispy pork spring rolls, sautéed Chinese sausage, pan-roasted sea scallops with bacon, yellowfin tuna tartare and adobo chicken wings. Dishes range from $8 to $26. (113 Ludlow St., second floor, 212-353-8866)

Zaragroza Mexican Deli & Grocery

Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

"It looks like a bodega -- you'd grab a bottle of water and leave," Richman says of this East Village spot, which his cousin tipped him off about. "But they have four tables, they have four meats a day, and they have absolutely sensational tacos, burritos, great guacamole. They're lovely, lovely people. And it's just like a bodega. You'd never think to go in there for food, let alone to sit down and eat there, let alone the food would be stellar."

The prices can't be beat, either -- the taco, burrito, tostada and tamale range from $2.50 to $8. (215 Ave. A, 212-780-9204)

PDT (Please Don't Tell) is accessible through Crif Dogs

Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

"My friend has a place through a phone booth in New York," Richman says, referring to the reservations-only speakeasy Please Don't Tell -- or PDT for short -- which is accessed through a vintage phone booth in Crif Dogs (dial 1 for entry).

Though drinks are the name of the game, guests can order hot dogs made in collaboration with NYC chefs or snack on more luxe creations.

"They have tater tots with creme fraiche and caviar," Richman says of the bar's Caviar Tots, which are served with Russ & Daughters' caviar. (113 St. Marks Place, 212-614-0386)

El Sabroso Restaurant

Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

"This is an amazing restaurant on a loading dock," Richman says of the small Garment District spot, which he featured on the first season of "Secret Eats." "It's pan-South American, and it's absolutely delicious."

Come for the unique atmosphere -- "There are guys pushing garment racks past your while you're eating," Richman says -- and stay for the chicken stew, goat, pork chips or baked ribs, all priced between $6 and $7.50. Oh, and the hot sauce.

"Their homemade hot sauce is amazing," Richman says. (265 W. 37th St., 212-284-1118)

Convivium Osteria's wine cellar

Richman was tempted to keep this one as
Photo Credit: Convivium Osteria

Richman was tempted to keep this one as his little secret, but he wanted to give the Mediterranean restaurant the shout-out.

"I'm loathe to give you this recommendation, but they have a couple tables in the wine cellar," Richman says. "I love those people. There's a family behind it. It's such an amazing place -- the best customer service I've ever seen."

The 28-seat wine cellar, which houses a selection from Italy, Spain and Portugal, is one of several rooms you can dine in. It's a popular request -- though not a guarantee -- for diners, Convivium Osteria manager Sergio Jardim says.

"It's a nice, romantic cellar setting, like out of Northern Spain," Jardim says. (68 Fifth Ave., Park Slope, 718-857-1833)

Gramercy Tavern's off-menu burger

Photo Credit: Maura McEvoy

"The Gramercy Tavern is this elegant, awesome, kick-ass restaurant in New York, but they have this off-menu burger that people go gaga for," Richman says.

The $20 burger in question features Cabot clothbound cheddar, tomatoes, pickled peppers and -- for an extra $2 -- bacon. Everything is made in-house, too, from the ketchup to the potato roll bun to the beef to the side of duck fat-fried potato chips. (42 E. 20th St., 212-477-0777)

Burger Joint

Photo Credit: Burger Joint

"Le Parker Meridien is a sexy, bougie hotel in midtown, but if you go past a neon burger sign in the lobby you go into the Burger Joint," Richman says. "It's wood paneling, it's Formica tables -- that highbrow, lowbrow juxtaposition."

The old-school-esque spot has been serving burgers with all the fixings, fries, milkshakes and beer in the hotel since 2002 and has since expanded to a less-obscure location in Greenwich Village. (119 W. 56th St., 212-708-7414)


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